Canadian lawmaker makes new single-event betting push

Kevin Waugh, a Canadian Conservative Party Member of Parliament, is seeking to legalize single-event sports betting across Canada in the bill he is sponsoring.

The bill filed on 25th February 2020, looks to allow gambling operators to offer single sports event or athletic contest wagers by repealing the Canadian Criminal Code, more precisely paragraph 207(4)(b).

Currently, the legalized bets according to the Criminal Code are those that have at least three games.

The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, also known as Bill C-218, looks to repeal the restriction while at the same time, allowing provincial and federal governments to tap into an illegal market with its worth estimated to be around CAD$14bn by Kevin Waugh.

While introducing the bill, Kevin Waugh stated that single-event sports wagering in Canada already existed and that those members who had no idea of the same were ‘behind the curtains’. He also noted that the Canadian single-event sports wagering industry was worth at least CAD$14bn. However, on the industry, Kevin noted that 95% of it existed underground either through offshore websites or on the black market.

He termed those sports-wagering sites as ‘unregulated’ with all the activities not subject to government regulations or taxes, not creating new jobs and economic opportunities to Canadians, and not contributing to support services, consumer protection, or harm reduction activities.

This is the third time the bill is being introduced with Brian Masse, a New Democratic Party MP, sponsoring the previous two that were unsuccessful. Waugh, however, pledged that the latest bill would be ‘third-time lucky’. The introduction of Bill C-218 by Kevin Waugh was also seconded by Brian Masse.

Waugh noted that passing the bill would see the stop of billions of dollars going to organized crime and would be channelled back to the communities.

‘It has changed since 2018,’ he said. ‘The United States has allowed it. Sports leagues, like the NHL and NBA, are in favour of sports betting being regulated. It is time this country follows forward.’ He added.

The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) also hailed the introduction of Bill C-218 and threw its weight behind Waugh’s efforts.

Paul Burns, the CGA chief executive, stated that legalizing single-event sports wagering would ‘provide the necessary tools to the provinces in a bid to deliver a safe and legal option to the Canadian residents’.

He also added that the legalization would give powers to the provinces where they would address issues like consumer protection and at the same time, have the operators, communities, and provincial governments enjoy economic benefits.


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